Italian Priest in Nigeria “responding to treatment” after Captors’ Beatings: Official

Fr. Luigi Brenna. Credit: Edo State Police Command/BBC

An Italian Catholic Priest ministering in Benin City Archdiocese in Nigeria is “responding to treatment” after he suffered injuries from his captors, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Archdiocese has said.

In a Monday, July 4 statement,  Fr. Michael Oyanoafoh reports about the July 3 ordeal of Fr. Luigi Brenna who has been “taken to another hospital to continue treatment” after having been initially “rushed” to Igbinedion University Teaching Hospital in Benin City.

The member of the Clerics Regular of Somasca (CRS - Somascan Fathers) was watching boys play football on the ground in front of the Somascan Usen community in Ovia South West Local Government Area of Nigeria’s Edo State when “some suspected herdsmen stormed the venue shooting sporadically”, Fr. Oyanoafoh has reported. 

“The boys playing football ran away in great fear and trembling and they (suspected herdsmen) captured Fr. Brenna, CRS before he could run into his apartment,” the Archdiocesan Chancellor says in his statement.

The attackers beat up Fr. Brenna using “machetes on his head and body and dragged him away,” the official of Benin City Archdiocese further recounts the ordeal of the 64-year-old Italian Priest.


He continues in reference to the suspected herdsmen, “After about half a kilometer of intense trekking and dragging, they gave him more beating because he was resisting following them so he passed out (fainted). They left him and went away thinking he was dead.”

“When he regained consciousness, he went home in a pool of blood. His fellow Priests who were hiding at the sound of the sporadic shooting around their house came out from their hide-out and rushed him to Igbinedion Teaching Hospital, Okada,” Fr. Oyanoafor says in his July 4 statement addressed to all Priests and Religious of the Catholic Archdiocese of Benin City.

In the statement, Fr. Oyanoafoh expresses the gratitude of the Local Ordinary of Benin City Archdiocese, Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze, saying, “We give thanks to God for the freedom of Fr. Luigi Brenna, CRS, from the hands of kidnappers.”

“Today, Monday, July 4, he was taken to another hospital to continue treatment,” The Chancellor says about Fr. Brenna, and adds, “We thank God that he is responding to treatment. Let us pray that God will grant him faster healing.”

The ordeal of Fr. Brenna comes after two Priests ministering in Nigeria's Uromi Catholic Diocese were kidnapped when gunmen attacked their car along the Benin-Ekpoma ExpressWay on July 2.

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Days before, two Priests were killed in separate attacks in their respective Nigerian Dioceses, one in Kaduna Archdiocese on June 25, and the other in Auchi Diocese on June 26.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.